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Fox News Sunday

McConnell vows to hold the line against Obama's SCOTUS pick; Does John Kasich have a path to the GOP nomination?

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," March 20, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


Europe's most wanted man is captured alive.  What will he tell authorities about ISIS plots against the West?


WALLACE:  We'll have a live report from Europe and we'll ask the White House chief of staff Denis McDonough what the arrest means for the U.S. war on terror.  

Then, the showdown over the president's Supreme Court nominee.  

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I have fulfilled my constitutional duty.  Now, it’s time for the Senate to do theirs.  

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, MAJORITY LEADER:  This nominee is not going to be considered.  

WALLACE:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Judge Merrick Garland won't get a hearing or a vote.  But the White House argues the Senate should do its job, not wait until after the election.

Today, McConnell and McDonough face off on "Fox News Sunday."  

Plus, Governor John Kasich wins his home state of Ohio and vows to press on in his campaign for president.  

GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You better believe it's about America.  It's about pulling us together, not pulling us apart.  

WALLACE:  We'll ask the GOP candidate what's his path to the nomination?  Amidst talk of a contested convention.  

Plus, we'll ask our Sunday panel about the Republicans’ plan to stop Trump.  

And our power players of the week, baby bald eagles steal the spotlight.

All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."


WALLACE:  And hello again from Fox News in Washington.  

We begin with the capture and questioning of most wanted man in Europe, Salah Abdeslam, believed to be the sole fugitive from the Paris massacre four months ago that killed 130 people.  In a moment, we'll get reaction from White House chief of staff Denis McDonough on this and the other big news this week, the president’s Supreme Court nomination.  Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is also standing by on.  

But first, let's bring in Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall in London with the latest on the terror investigation -- Benjamin.  


Well, Abdeslam could be an intelligent gold mine.  And today, French and Belgium authorities are looking closely in what happened in the lead-up to those Paris attacks, but also how he was able to evade capture so long hidden under their noses.  

It was a bullet to the knee that ended his four months on the run during raids on Friday in which he and four others were arrested.  He’s now being charged with participation in a terrorist murder.  France quickly issued a new arrest warrant with more charges to speed up his extradition but the process may still take up to three months.  

Investigators into the Paris attacks now hope Abdeslam will reveal information about the ISIS network behind him.  He’s confessed already to Belgian prosecutors that he planned to blow himself up that night but he changed his mind.  Prosecutors also claim that leading up to the attack, he traveled around Europe picking up other attackers and that he was the one who bought hydrogen peroxide to make the explosives.  His lawyer said was cooperating.  


SVEN MARY, SALAH ABDESLAM’S LAWYER:  There is a collaboration with the Belgium justice.  Let's go further on with that collaboration.  I think it's very important that he talks with the judge, which is a very good judge.  


HALL:  Abdeslam was finally caught just 500 yards from his parents' home, the place he grew up.  He was tracked down when a friend called the police and passed on the cell phone number that he was using.  

Today, the Belgium interior minister said he was shocked at the level of support he received while on the run.  It was a lot higher than previously expected.  And so now, the hunt is on for anyone else still out there who may want to commit attacks -- Chris.  

WALLACE:  Benjamin Hall, reporting from London, Benjamin, thanks for that.

Now let's get reaction to the arrest from White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.

Mr. McDonough, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."


WALLACE:  What's the significance of Abdeslam’s capture?  What is it going to help us do in terms of stopping future ISIS terror attacks?  

MCDONOUGH:  Well, it's important because it sends a very strong message that our allies and we in support of them are not going to stop until we get all the facts of this case figured out.  And now I know there will be an intensive process to figure out what he knows and what he did and what he knows about what others may be doing.  And that's why it's important that we dig very hard into this case and why the president called the French president and the Belgium prime minister on Friday to commend them for this good work.  

WALLACE:  What have we heard from European authorities?  We know that he is said some stuff to Belgian prosecutors.  But do we know whether or not in fact he is cooperating, the degree to his cooperation?  And what about an electronic trail that he may have left through cell phones or other devices that we can begin to follow?  

MCDONOUGH:  Well, I don't have any news to make on that this morning, Chris.  But I do know that people are looking at that very closely in Europe, and I’m sure we’ll know more about that in the days and weeks to come.  

WALLACE:  What are we learning both from this and from the prior investigation over the last four months about the extent of the ISIS terror network in Europe?  Just how many operatives they have there?  How extensive it is?

MCDONOUGH:  Well, we do know that they say and we have to listen to what they say.  They say that they intend to do this again.  So, we take that very seriously.  

Now, we are trying to draw lessons from exactly what happened on that terrible night in Paris, to make sure that not only our friends ready but they’re well-trained.  And that we're sharing the kind of intelligence and training with them that we can.  And that’s exactly what we're doing.  

WALLACE:  And do we believe that the attack on Paris that Abdeslam was involved in, do we believe it was directed and planned by ISIS central in the Middle East, or do we think it was simply inspired and self-radicalized people were involved?  

MCDONOUGH:  Well, we believe that there are indications that in fact that it goes back to some of those folks back in the Middle East.  But we're going to go -- get to bottom of this story.  But what we're not going to do is let our guard down.  That means staying on offense against ISIL in Syria and Iraq.  And that's why we’ve done precisely that over the course of these last many months.  We'll continue to that, Chris, because we’re not going to sit and wait.  We're going to go get this.  

WALLACE:  Mr. McDonough, I’m going to ask you stand by for a moment.  

The other big news this week is the president's pick for the Supreme Court Judge Merrick Garland.  Senate Republicans have vowed not to hold hearings or vote on the nomination and let the next president fill the seat.  We'll get Mr. McDonough's reaction in a moment.  

But, first, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell joins me from Louisville.  

Senator, support for your hard line on the Garland nomination seems to be breaking, at least a half a dozen Republican senators have now said they're going to meet with Garland, and late this week, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk said this, "Just man up and cast a vote."

It's been only four days and it seems like your ranks are breaking, sir.  

MCCONNELL:  Well, Senator Kirk is a terrific senator.  He's running for reelection this year and he’s going to be re-elected in November.  

I think what we need to focus on is the principle, the principle.  Who ought to make this appointment?  You have to go back 80 years to find the last time a vacancy on the Supreme Court created in a presidential election year was filled.  You have to go back to 1888 when Grover Cleveland was in the White House to find the last time when a vacancy was created in a presidential year, a Senate controlled about it party opposite the president confirmed.  

The Senate has a role to play here.  The president nominates, we decide to confirm.  We think the important principle in the middle of this presidential election, which is raging, is that American people need to weigh in and decide who's going to make this decision.  Not this lame duck president on the way out the door, but the next president next year.

WALLACE:  But you talk about principle, anything that happens in Washington involves principle and politics.  And what we see with Mark Kirk is a senator or Republican senator up in a tough re-election battle and thinking this is a hard line to hold.  

And I guess I’ve got to ask you, isn't this going to be a hard argument to make over the next seven months?  If you're going to say the president can't decide something, can't get his nomine confirmed because it's an election year, couldn't you say the same thing about the U.S. Senate that you shouldn't pass any laws?  You shouldn't do anything because in a sense you're a lame duck Congress?  

MCCONNELL:  No, he shouldn’t.  I mean, we're following the Biden rule.  And Biden was chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 1992, in presidential election year; he said the Senate should not act on filling a Supreme Court vacancy if it had occurred that year.  

Harry Reid when he was back in 2005 said the president nominates but the Senate doesn't have to vote.  Chuck Schumer who will be the next Democratic leader said in 2007 they wouldn't confirm.  The Democrats were in the majority in the Senate, they wouldn't confirm a Bush appointment to the Supreme Court if one occurred within 18 moves a presidential election.  

So, all we're doing, Chris, is following a long standing tradition of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election year.  

WALLAC:  I am going to ask Mr. McDonough about the Biden rule in a moment.  But, frankly, isn't there a fair amount of hypocrisy on both sides here?  

Right now, President Obama is calling for an up or down vote on his nominee.  You oppose that.  But back in 2005 when George W. Bush was president, you made exactly the same argument that Obama's making now.  Take a look, sir.  


MCCONNELL:  In a democracy, an up or down vote should be given to a president's judicial nominees.  It's not complicated.  It's simple.  It's fair.  It worked for 229 years.  And it has served us well.  


WALLACE:  Senator, if an up or down vote for a judicial nominee was simple, fair, and a principle that has served us for 229 years -- I guess now it’s over 230 years now -- if that's true then, it is still true?  

MCCONNELL:  Yes.  We're talking apples and oranges.  That comment was not in connection with the Supreme Court vacancy.

What we’re talking about here here’s a factual situation --

WALLACE:  But it’s still a judicial nominee, sir.

MCCONNELL:  The Supreme Court -- no, they're not the same.  The Supreme Court is very different from the other courts.  

What we're talking about here is a Supreme Court vacancy in the middle of a presidential election year made by a lame duck president who is on the way out the door and the impact that will have on this court for the next quarter of a century.  That is the issue before us right now.  

WALLACE:  Some of your Republican colleagues are already suggesting that if your side, if the GOP loses the election in November, that perhaps they would consider Judge Garland in a lame duck session because, in fact, he might be more moderate than, let's say, Hillary Clinton's nominee would be.  

Here is Republican Senator Jeff Flake.  


SEN. JEFF FLAKE, R-ARIZ., JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  I think Republicans are fully justified in doing what we're doing -- waiting.  And -- but if we happen to lose the election, then I think we ought to push him through quickly if we can.  


WALLACE:  Senator, is Jeff Flake wrong?  

MCCONNELL:  Yes, I think so.  Look, Barack Obama calling judge -- this judge a moderate doesn't make him a moderate.  This judge would move the court dramatically to the left.  He's enthusiastically supported by  I don't think they would be signing up and have all this enthusiasm about a liberal judge.  

Look, the principle is the same.  Whether it's before the election or after the election, the principle is the American people are choosing their next president and their next president should pick this Supreme Court nominee.  

WALLACE:  So, final question -- just to make it clear -- you're saying no consider -- no consideration of Judge Garland by this Congress even if Hillary Clinton wins the election?  No consideration by this Congress?  You're going to stand firm on that even in a lame duck session?  

MCCONNELL:  Yes.  I can't imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm in a lame duck session a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association, the National Federation of Independent Business that represents small businesses that have never taken a position on the Supreme Court appointment before.  They're opposed to this guy.  

I can't imagine that a Republican majority Senate, even if it were assumed to be a minority, would want to confirm a judge that would most court dramatically to the left.  That's not going to happen.  

WALLACE:  Senator McConnell, thank you.  Thanks for your time today, sir.  

MCCONNELL:  Thank you.  

WALLACE:  Now let's bring back the White House chief of staff Denis McDonough to talk about the Supreme Court battle.  

Mr. McDonough, President Obama is calling now for an up or down vote on the nomination of Merrick Garland.  Back in 2006, senator Obama participated in the filibuster of Sam Alito’s nomination, blocking an up and down vote.  

And back in 1992, Joe Biden when he was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said the Senate should not consider a Supreme Court nomination in an election year.  Let's watch.  


JOE BIDEN, THEN-U.S. SENATOR:  The Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until ever -- until after the political campaign season is over.  


WALLACE:  Question, aren't Obama and Biden making exactly the opposite argument now from what they made back then?  

DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF:  Chris, you said Sam Alito, you mean Justice Alito.  

WALLACE:  Yes.  

MCDONOUGH:  Who has been it is sitting on the Supreme Court for the last ten years.  

WALLACE:  But Obama tried to filibuster him.  

MCDONOUGH:  So he's been on the court for the last decade.  President Obama did not object to a hearing, did not object to private meetings, and did not object to votes including in the committee and then ultimately on the floor of the Senate.  

WALLACE:  Well, he tried to filibuster him.  

MCDONOUGH:  And when you think of Senator -- Vice President Biden and the role he played as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, nine Supreme Court justices came before him when he was chairman.  Everyone was given a hearing, meetings, a vote, and even when they were not enough votes in the committee to pass him with that justice with majority vote, they still went to the Senate floor this vote at the full Senate.  That’s exactly what we think should happen here.  

WALLACE:  But -- you could -- a lot of those things happened either in spite of or over their opposition.  

MCDONOUGH:  On the contrary, he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee.  Thing don't happen in the judiciary committee over or in spite of the objection of the chairman.  In fact, it happens because the chairman makes it happen.  

Vice President Biden ensured that every one of those justices had a hearing, including, by the way in, 1988, an election year when President Reagan proposed a Republican president, proposed a Democratic Senate a Supreme Court justice.  And in fact, Justice Kennedy who has now been on the court since 1988 was passed overwhelmingly, in fact, unanimously by the Senate.  We think the same thing should happen for Judge Garland.  

WALLACE:  Do you think that the Senate has a constitutional obligation to take this up to vote?  

MCDONOUGH:  We think that it’s quite clear in the Constitution that when there is a vacancy, the president proposes a nominee and we think as been the practice for decades, in fact, centuries in the Senate that advise and consent means meetings, public hearing where that judge -- in this case, Judge Garland -- is willing to go under oath on national television and answer their questions and then a vote in the committee and a vote in the Senate.  That's what should happen here.  

WALLACE:  But "The Washington Post" did a fact check.  They actually gave that idea that there is a constitutional obligation three Pinocchios.  They said, first of all, the Constitution says nothing about a vote.  It says advice and consent before a confirmation.  And secondly, there has been a long history, mostly in the 19th century, that the Senate has decided not to act in a number of cases.  

MCDONOUGH:  Look, Chris, we don't need to jump back to the 19th century or the 1800s, right?  We're in the 21st century.  What we ought to do is look at the precedent over the course of the last many decades and as was the case on Vice President Biden was chairman of the committee, every nominee got a hearing, got meetings, got votes and committee and got a vote on the floor.  

There is not difficult.  This is the way it operates in the Senate and they ought not to reach back to the precedent from 1800s.  Let’s just do the way they’ve been doing it for a long, long time.

WALLACE:  As we discussed with Senator McConnell, several Republican senators are now saying that they're willing to meet with Judge Garland and Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk is saying that they should just man up and vote.  

How big an issue do you think that you can make this in the November election?  How much heat, honestly, do you think can you put on Senate Republicans?  

MCDONOUGH:  Well, like we don't think there is an election issue.  We think this is a straight up governance issue.  This is what -- you know, when Senator McConnell --

WALLACE:  Wait.  The president, you, you're all meeting and mobilizing various groups on your side.  There is nothing wrong with it being a political issue.  I mean, you're trying to put heat on these people.  

MCDONOUGH:  You just asked what -- how big an issue it will be in the election?  This can be resolved.  The average time from announcement of a nomination to confirmation is 67 days.  We do feel good about the progress we’re making.  In fact, Senator Collins has indicated to us that she'll meet --  

WALLACE:  Susan Collins of Maine, Republican.

MCDONOUGH:  Correct, the Republican of Maine has indicated that she'll meet with Judge Garland after the Senate gets back from the two week break.  Earlier in the week, they get back.

So, we think that's good progress.  We'll continue to make that progress.  And again, this shouldn't be an issue in any election.  They can resolve of this in plenty of time and in the time they have.  

In fact, we believe there is consistent with the pledges that Senate McConnell made when he took over the Senate.  You’ll recall that he said he wanted to get Congress working again.  Well, getting Congress working again would mean just obviously giving him a hearing, a vote, and getting this ton.  Not taking this unprecedented step.  

WALLACE:  One final question -- some Republican senators say, look, if the Democrats end up winning the White House in November, let's say Hillary Clinton, well, then maybe we'll consider Judge Garland in a lame duck session.

Question: has the president made a commitment to garland that he'll stand about it nomination or might he, let's say Clinton wins in November, might he pull the nomination and let her pick the next Supreme Court justice?  

MCDONOUGH:  The president will stand by his nominee.  This is an unbelievably qualified, extraordinarily decent man who comes to this nomination with more federal court experience than any nominee before him.  He led our effort into the investigation and prosecution for the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber and he's just as you've seen in the stories, an extraordinarily decent man.  We'll stand by him from now until he is confirmed and he is sitting on the Supreme Court.  

WALLACE:  Through the end of the president's term?  

MCDONOUGH:  That is correct.  

WALLACE:  Mr. McDonough, thank you.  Thanks you for coming in.  Always good to talk with you, sir.  

MCDONOUGH:  Thanks so much, Chris.  

WALLACE:  Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss Judge Garland's nomination.  

Plus, what you would like to the panel about the Supreme Court battle?  Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.



JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE:  For a judge to be worthy of such trust, he or she must be faithful to the Constitution, and to those statutes passed by the Congress.  He or she must put aside his personal views or preferences and follow the law, not make it.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Merrick Garland, chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals here in Washington, speaking at the White House this week after President Obama nominated him to the Supreme Court.

And it’s time now for our Sunday group: Syndicated columnist George Will, Lisa Lerer, who covers politics for The Associated Press, Washington Examiner columnist and conservative pollster, Kristen Soltis Anderson, and Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post".

So, George, your thoughts about the Garland nomination and the stand that Republicans are taking in the Senate -- no confirmation hearing, no vote.

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  The Republicans have two reasons for taking a position.  

One is to demonstrate to the Republican base something that they very much doubt which is there is some reason to want the Republicans to control the Senate.  They can't defund Planned Parenthood.  They can't repeal Obamacare.  They can’t even prevent the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.  This they can stand up and say we can actually do something.  

Second, this is a way they say of protesting executive overreach by the president, although this is a clear constitutional right and duty of the president to nominate people to the federal judiciary.  What's puzzling is the Republican Senate leaders who are saying this have all said, of course, they will support Donald Trump if he's the nominee.  

So, they’re saying, we're quite content to have judicial nominations made by Mr. Trump whose qualifications for so doing are somewhat foggy.  And it's puzzling to hear Mitch McConnell saying, with reverence, that we must follow the Biden Rule.  A Biden Rule endorsed with equal reverence by Harry Reid.  

The Biden rule was he said no confirmations during a political season.  When are we not in a political season?  It's just not an election year.  

Where -- by what principle do we decide when a president's ability to nominate people becomes progressively attenuated?  After the midterm elections of the second term of a president?  When is it?  I don't understand.  

WALLACE:  We asked you for questions for the panel.  And following up on the point that George made, we got this from Rob Danger.  He tweeted this: "Will Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell keep his word or fold like he usually does?"

Kristen, at a time -- and I want to pick up on this question of trying to keep faith with the base.  At a time when grassroots support for the Republican leadership here in Washington is at all-time low, when can you just see this in this election, how little they trust that the D.C. establishment, the Republican D.C. establishment is going to stand up for them, is this an effective way for McConnell to try to mobilize the base?  And do you think he’s going to be able -- we’re already seeing that first crack with Mark Kirk -- can he keep the soldiers in line?  

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, WASHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMNIST:  Remember that Mitch McConnell came out with a strategy pretty much the day that vacancy came open.  He knew that if there was even a hypothetical that this would be the sort of thing where Senate Republicans might entertain the president's nominee, might allow the court to move to the left, that there would be outrage.  So, he sort of wanted to shut that down right away.  

But look at the members of the Senate who are beginning to say, I’d be at least willing to have a meeting with this nominee.  They are Republicans who are up for re-election and they are in seats where it is a blue or a purple state.  There are states that unlikely to vote for a Republican nominee in a presidential election.  And maybe to differentiate themselves from the national party narrative so that they, at the same time that their state is perhaps voting for a Democratic candidate at the top of the ticket, is still sending them back to Washington a little bit further down on the ballot.  

WALLACE:  Bob, I thought that the White House chief of staff Denis McDonough made some news in our interview here.  Went further than the White House has so far in saying that Obama is going to stick by the Garland nomination even into a lame duck, even if, let's say, Hillary Clinton is elected president that he would stick by the Garland nomination.  

Kind of interesting that he's saying, you know, I’m going to stay by him and if Hillary Clinton, even if he's just been elected president, if they want to confirm my nominee, so be it.  

BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST:  I think it’s confusing to people, because this is all about politics.  This is pure politics on both sides and as you pointed out, hypocrisy on both sides.  

WALLACE:  Both sides argued exactly the opposite side.  

WOODWARD:  Exactly.  And what McConnell, the Senate majority leader is saying, hey, look, we -- and it's the advice and consent provision in the Constitution.  We can do it any way we want.  

And he's actually quite right.  There is nothing in the Constitution that says you have to do it in a timely fashion and so forth.  So, this -- this -- the issue is whether you can make the court a majority liberal body.  Everyone concedes that if garland goes on the court, you're going to have five votes on the liberal side.  

What is interesting and George has pointed this out -- I mean, Garland is an extraordinary judge.  He is somebody -- I did a book years ago on the Supreme Court and tried to follow it since, and he's exactly the sort of person that should be on the court.  

He's reasonable.  He listens.  He is not really partisan in anyway.  


WALLACE:  But wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  You know what a lot of people are going to say is when it comes down to a decision and it's 5-4, he'll end up being with the liberal judges as opposed to the conservative justices.  

WOODWARD:  He will.  But, you know, look, step back.  There will be liberals and conservatives on the court and if you are going to have some liberals have the sensible -- have rational person.

I mean, like lots of people said about Scalia, they didn't agree with him, but he served an important function on the court.  That's the way it works.  You have to be a consensus builder and Garland is somebody like.  

But I don't think he's going to make it.  I don't think he's going to be confirmed.  

WALLACE:  Lisa, let's pick up open this from the political side of the Democrats.  Democratic aspect, they clearly feel that this argument, "do your job" -- you're there.  You're there for another eight months or whatever it is.  And the idea that you're simply going to refuse to have a hearing, refuse to vote.

When you talk to the Sanders and Clinton camps, do they think this is effective?  And do they it will move votes in the fall election?  

LISA LERER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:  Yes, it was interesting to hear Denis McDonough tell you it's not an election year issue, because that’s clearly not how Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders see this.  

They think it is an effective issue.  They'll need to do two things in the fall, rally their base and pull over independents.  They think they can allow them to do both.  It's a strong motivator for base Democrats, particularly African-Americans, who tend to view a lot of these Republican opposition to the president through a racial lens.

They also think if Trump is at the top of the Republican ticket, they may be able to pull over some moderate Republicans who may not like the idea of Donald Trump next -- picking the next Supreme Court justice, particularly as Democrats like to point out, he said that his sister would be an excellent justice and she has a record of being very pro-abortion rights.  

So, they think this is -- this is an area where they can make a really strong political argument.  The politics get a little more complicated once you get into a lame duck session, because quite frankly, Merrick Garland is not the nominee that I think Hillary Clinton would like to choose in her first time.

WALLACE:  She’d like somebody more liberal.  

LERER:  Yes, a lot of the liberal groups feel that way.  That's why you see them focusing on the need for a vote and not really talking all that much about the nominee, and certainly not saying whether they would keep him and renominate him should either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders win the presidency.  

WALLACE:  So, George, in less than a minute we have left in the segment, what about the lame duck scenario?  That Hillary Clinton wins or Donald Trump wins and some of those Republicans say, "You know what?  Merrick Garland doesn't look like such a bad nominee."

WILL:  You know, if President Cruz is president-elect the morning after the election, the Republicans’ choice is clear.  You wait for him to make a nominee. If Trump is the president-elect, I don’t know how you guess who he might want to put on the court. But suppose in the morning after the election it’s president-elect Clinton and the president comes out and says, I know what McDonough told Wallace a long time ago, but –

WALLACE: I’m sure that will be the top of his announcement.

WILL: But, he’ll say, let's adhere to the freshly minted McConnell rule. The McConnell rule is that nominees should be sent up by a president after the people have spoken. The people have said Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Clinton says, fine, let's draw Mr. Garland and appoint a 43-year-old, not a 63-year-old, not a moderate but a 43-year-old firebrand. Serve the Republicans right.

WALLACE:  All right. A strong letter to follow. We have to take a break here, panel. See you a little later.

Up next, Governor John Kasich is hanging his hopes on a contested convention. We'll ask the presidential candidate about his path to the nomination.

Plus, what do you think? Would an open convention divide the Republican Party? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter @foxnewssunday and use the #fns.


WALLACE:  The only thing standing between a Trump versus Cruz showdown is John Kasich, who Cruz calls a spoiler.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now, every single vote for John Kasich is a vote for Donald Trump.


WALLACE:  We'll ask Kasich what he sees as his path to the GOOP nomination, when we come right back.


WALLACE:  A look outside the beltway of Salt Lake City ahead of this week's caucuses there.

Governor John Kasich won his home state of Ohio Tuesday. And even though it's his only victory so far, he said that's enough to keep him in the race for president. Earlier, I spoke with Kasich, who was campaigning in Utah.

WALLACE:  Governor, let's start with your strategy to win the Republican nomination. Right now Donald Trump has 678 delegates, Ted Cruz has 423, you have 143. Even if you win every one of the remaining delegates, 100 percent, you would still be short of the 1,237 majority you need. So – so what’s your path? How does the Republican convention end up turning to you?

GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well – well, first of all, Chris, nobody is going to have enough delegates. We are going to go to a convention. It's going to be open. And let me also tell you that for the first time in this race, in the last two and a half or three weeks, I’ve received more national media attention in the last three weeks than I did in the last six months. And we're rising. Our rallies are strong. We are raising money. We're bringing more people in to our effort.

And we're going to get to the convention. And I've been to a convention that was contested in 1976 as a young guy. But let me tell you, when you get to a convention, there’s going to be two considerations. One, who can win in the fall? I'm the only one that can win in the fall. And then there’s a second issue. And I know this is kind of a crazy one. But who actually could be president of the United States? I think that kind of matters, too.

So I see the convention as nothing more than an extension of this whole political process. And I'm very comfortable with heading to that convention with momentum and more delegates and we'll let the – the people there make a choice.

WALLACE:  If step one is to stop Trump, to keep him from the 1,237, some people are questioning why you're even campaigning in Utah because the fact is that if Ted Cruz were to win 50 percent of the vote, he would get all of the delegates. But you, by campaigning there, are splitting the anti-Trump vote.

I want to put up what Mitt Romney said the other day. He says he’ll vote for Cruz in Utah, explaining, "a vote for Governor Kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail." Your response, sir?

KASICH: Well, first of all, I don't agree with him. And, secondly, people tried to get me out of the race and said that Rubio should be the pick. And if I hadn’t stayed in the race and won in Ohio, Trump would have won both Florida and Ohio.

But I want to make something clear to people. I'm not in this to try to stop somebody. I'm in this to tell people about my experience, my record, my vision, and my ability to bring – bring people together and to be a successful president of the United States. This is beginning to deteriorate into some sort of a political science class with a bunch of pundits trying to, you know, play a parlor game. I'm not interested in that.

Chris, my entire lifetime has been to bring about change. Do you know how many people in the establishment I made angry whether I reformed the Pentagon? Do you know how many people in the establishment I made angry when I balanced the federal budget? Do you know how many people in the establishment I got upset when I brought change in Ohio?

I'm a change agent. And what we’re beginning to see is a lot of the establish people, one more time, trying to stop me. I am interested in improving this country and being a good president and that's precisely why I'm running. And people are beginning to understand my vision and my message because finally people are beginning to allow me to be heard.

WALLACE:  Well, I want to ask you about being allowed to be heard. Fox News was scheduled to hold a debate tomorrow in Salt Lake City. Trump said, no. But we were still going to hold it with you and Ted Cruz. And then you surprised a lot of people by saying that you weren't going to participate in the debate, including Charles Krauthammer.


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: He complains that he’s being ignored, not getting enough time, whining about it again and again. He and Carson. And then here he’s being offered two hours without the interruptions of Trump, just him and Cruz. He could present his case and he turns it down.


WALLACE:  Governor.

KASICH: Well, I'm dis – I’m disappointed to hear Charles say that. He says that I was whining? Let me tell you, "The New York Times" had a piece the other day that showed that Donald Trump received $1.8 billion worth of national media attention. And I was like tenth, OK?

Look, I'm not going to go to a debate where we don't have everybody involved in the race involved in the debate. So what am I doing? I'm using my time to campaign the most effectively way – effective way I can. I have never thought that these debates were the best way to pick a president. If somebody wants to sit down with me for an hour and interview me and ask me any question about my record, my policies, my foreign policy experience, my domestic policy experience, I'm willing to do that.

But, you know, I love Charles Krauthammer. He's a good guy. And maybe sometimes people just don't understand the way that I work in politics. And, you know, see, I'm not a plotter or a schemer. I’m a guy that looks at problems and tries to solve them, which I have done all of my career, creating jobs in Washington, creating jobs in Ohio. Not me creating them, but creating an atmosphere and having the experience to run this country.

WALLACE:  You have talked, as you say, about running a positive campaign. You also, at various point, have criticized Donald Trump –


WALLACE:  For creating a toxic atmosphere –


WALLACE:  When it comes to violence, for speaking in – in what you consider objectionable ways about women. What do you think of Donald Trump and the campaign he's running?

KASICH: Well, you know, look, I – I heard yesterday that his family was threatened. And that disappointed me. There’s no place for this kind of back and forth in violence. So from that regard, I was disappointed to hear that people were threatening that family. That's a disgrace.

But I also have pointed out at times when I thought his language was inappropriate, like if I don't get nominated, there’s going to be a riot. I mean what kind of talk is that? But – but I have to tell you, Chris, I've done more town halls, more interaction with voters than anybody, all the candidates added together. I take questions from the crowd. You guys follow it. And at the end of the day, I rarely, ever rarely mention anybody else's name because I spend my time giving them the answers about what I want to do –


KASICH: What my vision is. And that's the way I – I’ve really proceeded.

WALLACE:  Well, let me ask you about a specific question in the time we have remaining. I want to explore your position on people in this country illegally. You have called them a critical part of our society. You’ve called them good people. They're not criminals?

KASICH: Well, look, Chris, what I've said is that, you know, look, Ronald Reagan tried to fix this whole thing in 1986. And it didn't work because we didn't finish the border. I think we need to finish the border. And once it's finished, people cannot sneak in. They shouldn't sneak in now. They’ve got to sent – be sent home.

We should have a guest worker program. And for the 11.5 million who are here illegally, if they’ve not committed a crime since they’ve been here, I would give them a path to legalization where they pay a fine, back taxes, delay in any kind of benefits they get. I think is a reasonable approach, but not a path to citizenship.

My position has not changed. The idea that we're going to go into communities and yank people out of their homes and leave their kids on the porch crying, that's not what we're going to do. That’s – that’s just – that’s more promises that will never happen and the people will become more cynical. I don't make promises, by and large, that I can't keep. I try to keep what I say. And I – I'm not deviated from this position at all.

WALLACE:  But you know what Ted Cruz calls that? He calls it amnesty.

KASICH: He can call it anything he wants to, I'm just telling you my position and I believe that position will be accepted by the American people and that position can pass the Congress. I lay this out in every town hall meeting. If somebody asks me, I tell them.

WALLACE:  But what about –

KASICH: Look, I’m here –

WALLACE:  In the 30 seconds we have left, sir, what about the argument they did break the law, they came into this country illegally –

KASICH: Yes, they did.

WALLACE:  And – and you're letting them basically be able to stay in the country despite that.

KASICH: Chris, Chris, I know that you don't believe that we can go house-to-house and block-to-block trying to track these people down to ship them out. You know that. Come on. The people know it, too. That's just silly. You know what, I'm in this race to try to fix things, not to go out and make crazy promises that are not going to happen, that are going to further aggravate the American people. So, look, you know, if people don't like that position, that's OK. I'm cool with it. But I'm not going to change my position, because I think it's reasonable and I think this whole problem is fixable. I believe it. Reagan tried. I will get – I will finish the job.

WALLACE:  Governor Kasich, thank you. Always good to talk to you.

KASICH: Thank you. I enjoyed it today, Chris. Thank you. It was fun.

WALLACE:  It was fun.

Up next, we’ll bring back the panel to discuss the Republican Party's stop Trump movement. It is too little too late?



CROWD: Trump stop hate, (INAUDIBLE). Stop Trump, stop hate, (INAUDIBLE).


WALLACE:  Protesters outside Phoenix shut down a highway before a Donald Trump event yesterday.

And we're back now with the panel.

Well, there were protests yesterday not just in Arizona, but also in New York City outside the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. You can see the protest there. And all of this adding to concerns among the Republican establishment, among movement conservatives about Donald Trump actually winning the nomination.

Kristen, it seems almost every day there’s a new story, whether it's a bunch of fat cats have a dinner at some club here or now there’s a new story about a third party and Tom Coburn, the retired senator from Oklahoma, running as a third party candidate. How seriously should we take all this talk about a stop Trump movement?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, WASHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMNIST: The stop Trump movement may have sort of run out of time. There is so much time spent last fall attacking Donald Trump as being insufficiently conservative. And those attacks fell flat, quite frankly. Most of Donald Trumps’ voters don't love him because they think he's conservative, it’s because they think he's strong and he’s a winner.

And so the time has elapsed. Attitudes about Donald Trump have really sort of calcified. And – and if you like Donald Trump, it's unlikely at this point that you will be persuaded to change your mind. So I think at this point the math, for anybody to stop Trump before the convention, becomes very hard.

He'll pick up delegates in Arizona. We'll move forward into a state like New York where the last poll showed him up by over 50 points. Donald Trump, the math looks pretty good for him for the next month and a half or. It’s going to be very difficult for folks to stop him, at least from winning the Republican nomination.

WALLACE:  Do you agree with that, Bob?

BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes. I mean, first of all, if – if you try to excavate this, you realize that the only way for Trump probably not to get the nomination is for him to withdraw. And that is not going to happen. If there’s one thing that Trump does, he never quits. And so he’s – you know, he's got the – he's the heavy in this. And there – there – there’s something that he's brought forth in the populous that those of us who try to understand this don't understand. And don’t –

WALLACE:  I – I was going to ask you about.


WALLACE:  I mean you’ve covered a lot of campaigns, a lot of candidates. Can you put this – and I’m going to ask George the same thing, in any kind of historical perspective? Do you compare it to, you know, some people are saying Richard Nixon in '68 with a silent majority, George Wallace in ’68. Do you – what do you compare Trump to?

WOODWARD: I – I – it – it – you can't compare him to anything. And I – I think there are people out there who just kind of say, let's repot the plant. Let's give somebody else a chance. And it's not just anger or disappointment in their lives, it's the sense of, let's shake this up. And no one is shaking it up as much as Trump.

WALLACE: George?

WILL: Well, stylistically, Trump is in the George Wallace tradition. Wallace who famously said, there’s too much dignity in American politics. We have to have more meanness. Wallace got 46 electoral votes because he has a regional base. What makes Trump more interesting is he’s not a regional candidate. He has support all over the country, as he’s demonstrated.

The problem is this. Not only are his negatives 61 percent, almost doubled his positives, 32 percent, but he's appealing entirely to white people. Now, in 1988, George Herbert Walker Bush got 40 – 59 percent of the white vote, which was high. And that translated into 426 electoral votes. Mitt Romney, in 2012, got 59 percent of the white vote. That translated into 206 electoral votes. Romney got 17 percent, that’s all, of the non-white vote.

Trump, by every measure, would do worse than that, which means he would have to get not just the 65 percent of the white vote to win that Ronald Reagan got sweeping 49 states, he would have to get 70 percent of the white vote. A, it won't happen, and, B, it would destroy the Republican Party by making it the party of white people.

WALLACE:  Now, I'm sure that the Clinton camp and the Sanders camp, they look at exactly that same demographics and basically say the country, the Democratic face – demographic face of the country is changing. On the other hand, you do hear talk, Lisa, about Trump reshuffles the electoral deck. That suddenly the rustbelt, the industrial Midwest, Pennsylvania, Michigan, states – Wisconsin, states that have gone reliably for Democrats for several election cycles, suddenly would be in play. How seriously do they take that?

LISA LERER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: I mean smart Democrats, the –the ones that I'm talking to at least, are not overly confident about this. And in part that's because Trump is so wildly unpredictable. Like, yes, they agree on the demographics point. They're certainly going to try to boost support among Latino supporters, among African-American supporters, among women. But, you know, with Trump, he had a – the Republicans had obviously a lot of trouble taking him out and you just don't know what you're going to get and you don't know – he doesn't play by the standard rules.

So that makes a lot of Democrats a little nervous, particularly given that Hillary Clinton, by her own admission, is not the world's best campaigner. But their theory – the case is basically three c’s, credentials, character, and controversy. So they're digging through his business records. They're going to highlight deals that went badly. They're going to bring back his statements about Latinos and women and all those kinds of things and they’re going to talk about his temperament. Is this someone you want with your finger on the button as a way of trying -- pulling over moderate Democrats, particularly suburban women in some of these swing states that could make the difference for them in the general election.

WOODWARD:  But – but it's important that the people in the Clinton campaign, and as you – you’ve called smart Democrats, are worried.

LERER: Right.

WOODWARD: And – and that, you know, this – this is a serious worry. And, you know, just from the polling perspective, what are there almost half the people don't vote, right? And Trump is getting some of those people. The – the polls –

LERER: Right.

WOODWARD: There are good number on that because that’s maybe why people are worried.

WALLACE:  In addition to which, let's face it, if – if Trump is a target rich environment, so is Hillary Clinton.

LERER: Right.

WALLACE:  And Lord knows there’s plenty of oppo research to be done on her.

I want to ask one more thing here, Kristen. Trump is going to be in Washington tomorrow. He's going to meet with APAC, the pro-Israeli lobby. But he’s also supposedly going to have a meeting with a lot of mainstream Republicans. How possible is it that he could, having taken this stance to get this far in the primaries, change his tune. I mean not change it completely, but become a much more mainstream figure and somehow make a – an accommodation with the GOP establishment?

ANDERSON: I believe there are many in the GOP establishment who will want to co-opt Donald Trump, find a way to make peace with him, find a way that they can still show their face at a Republican convention that is nominating him and call themselves Republicans and sort of get through the next couple of months.

But I think there’s going to be a big division for the folks that consider themselves hard core conservatives who care deeply about things like limited government, who oppose someone who sounds like an authoritarian who wants to expand executive power, remain very troubled by him and might say, if he defines what it is to be a Republican, then maybe I'm not anymore.

WALLACE:  George?

WILL: Well, I think –

WALLACE:  Can – can the party – it's a big, big tent, can it expand to include Donald Trump at least through November or is this a – stretching it too far?

WILL: It cannot expand that far and remain a conservative party, which means it would be – if he's the nominee, there will be no conservative running in the race and the vishi (ph) Republicans, who are coming to terms with – as collaborators with the takeover of their party, have to understand that.

WALLACE:  And do you see a third party under those circumstances?

WILL: Possibly.

WALLACE:  Are you going to leave (ph) the ticket?

WILL: No, but I would vote for it.

WALLACE:  You would vote for it?

WILL: Certainly.

WALLACE: All right. Wow. I think we made some news ourselves.

Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.

Up next, our "Power Players of the Week." Washington's newest celebrities have a coming out party.


WALLACE:  D.C. was taken by storm this week. No, not by the presidential race or the new Supreme Court nominee. Someone more important stole the spotlight. A symbol of our nation. Here is a "Power Player of the Week."


WALLACE: (voice-over): Hundreds of thousands of avid viewers turned to the web Friday morning as an eaglet hatched from its shell at the National Arboretum. Even I got caught up in eaglet mania.

WALLACE (on camera): Let me know, how – how is the – the eaglet doing? Are we – any progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost all the way out. Mama’s back on top.

WALLACE (voice-over): Bird watchers have been minding the nest since mid-February when a pair of bald eagles laid two eggs. Excitement turned into anticipation when the first pip (ph), or crack, was seen late Wednesday on one egg. And Friday, just after 8:00 in the morning, a fuzzy wing flopped out and D.C. had its latest star.

The eaglet, named DC2 (ph), was quieted at first, but quickly pepped up. The proud parents nicknamed Mr. President and the First Lady, first nested there in 2014 when they gave birth to one eaglet. They take turns, one monitoring the nest while the other scavenges for food, often a big fish. The hatching is trending on FaceBook and the arboretum's eagle cam is getting millions of clicks.


WALLACE:  And on this first day of spring, we have a big, happy announcement. The second baby eaglet was born this morning. Forget March Madness and check out the eagle cam link on our website,

And now this program note. Be sure to watch Fox News Channel tomorrow night for a must see prime time lineup. Interviews with all three republican presidential candidates starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."


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